Friday was a much calmer day in terms of weather with a (comparatively) light zephyr blowing from the North. This meant that the temperature fell considerably but I think most of the competitors regarded that as a price worth paying for the drop in wind speed.
I spent the day at Deal where 4 players achieved the notable milestone of having played 100 matches for their school. They were, Harry Thomson (Merchiston), Andrew Helm (Watson’s), Martin Hayes (Whitgift) and Richard Smith (Fettes). In a nice twist of fate, Helm and Hayes played against each other in the second round, the Whitgift man emerged victorious 3 & 2 which was nicely balanced by the Watsonians winning the match 3 – 2.
Harry Thomson and his fellow Merchistonians.
Andrew Helm (Watson’s) and Martin Hayes (Whitgift)
Richard Smith and his fellow Fettesians
If it strikes you that 75% of the Centurions were Scots, that set the tone for the day with 4 Scottish schools making it through to the third round. Later in the day Watson’s progressed into quarter-finals before Tonbridge managed something of an English rear-guard action by despatching Glenalmond 3 1/2 – 1 1/2. The holders Loretto progressed comfortably past Blundell’s and face Trent this morning. Edinburgh Academicals play Haileybury.
There weren’t any real upsets yesterday as all the big names progressed through to the third round, although Bedford gave Tonbridge a scare until, like many good men before them, they found the ditch at the 19th in the deciding game. Charterhouse play Malvern in the third round this morning and Watson’s play Tonbridge in the first of the quarter-finals this afternoon so at least two of the bigger names will be on their way home this evening. Both matches promise to be exciting.